Mon, Sep 13, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Family records available on the Web

GENEALOGY The Mormon church in 1970 began collecting records of families in Taiwan and a catalog of the information is now available on the Internet

CNA , DALLAS

Even in Taiwan, people can search their genealogical history via a family search Internet service provided by the Mormon church in the western US state of Utah.

Via the FamilySearch Internet Service, headquartered in Salt Lake City, people in Taiwan can access many record collections about Chinese families to help them trace their ancestors, said Lee Hsing-yuan (李行遠), a staff member of the Salt Lake City Family History Library run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

According to Lee, the Salt Lake City Family History Library runs the world's largest family history library, dubbed the Pedigree Resource File, which is housed in a giant weather-proof granite cave.

Believing that family is designed by God for eternal relationships, the Mormons started building the library in 1894 and began to store individual family records on microfilm in 1938, gradually extending the file into the largest of its kind in the world, covering family history records for almost every race around the world, Lee said.

The FamilySearch Service now maintains more than 4,000 family history information centers around the world, with over 2,000 of them scattered around the US.

FamilySearch Service began in 1970 to compile Chinese family history records, which contain mostly families from Taiwan and southern China.

It maintains a family history information center in Taiwan, in a Mormon church in Taipei, which so far has 9,300 individual files, covering the histories of 192 families of different names, Lee said.

In China, FamilySearch Service maintains two family history information centers, in Beijing and Shanghai, with 100,000-odd files covering more than 11,700 families of different names, he added.

People who are interested in searching their family tree can first visit the FamilySearch Internet Service to find their series numbers in the catalog, and then go to the nearest family history information center to see the details stored on microfilm, Lee said.

Meanwhile, Lee said that if people are interested in compiling their own family tree history, they can contact Salt Lake City Family History Library for how-to software. The library also provides free instructions in Mandarin.

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